SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey recently told The Sporting News that he wouldn’t necessarily rule out a change to the NCAA’s current policy regarding players returning to school after declaring for the NFL Draft.
As the policy stands now, players must declare for the draft by mid-January, and once they do, they are committed to go through the draft process even if they are not selected.
Such is not the case with the NBA and college basketball.
Sankey said, “It’s not something that has been made portable for other sports, but I would not forgo that that direction could be pursued.”
The NFL Draft Advisory Board currently only gives players three grades in regard to where they may be taken in the draft: first round, second round, or a recommendation to return to school. These grades make up the entirety of the outside information that players are allowed to receive when they are considering whether or not to declare for the draft.
The grades, which can be somewhat arbitrary, are given to the players in mid-December, five months before the draft.
The NCAA could greatly improve their public image as well as their relationship with student-athletes by allowing players to go to the NFL Draft Combine, work out and receive their grades afterward, and then decide whether or not to enter the draft.
The roadblocks to such a change in policy are many, not the least of which are scholarship restrictions. The NFL Combine currently takes place a few weeks after National Signing Day.
If a coaching staff has a couple of players whose draft status is in question, it would make it awfully difficult to fill out a recruiting class. But the fact that the idea is even being kicked around is a step in the right direction, both for the NFL and college football.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports